The Drake Curriculum

The purpose of the Drake Curriculum is to provide students with a meaningful liberal education. Drake students will gain the breadth of knowledge and skills necessary to successfully function in a complex and rapidly changing world. The Drake Curriculum helps to prepare students for meaningful personal lives, professional accomplishments and responsible global citizenship. The Drake Curriculum consists of three components: a First Year Seminar, a set of Areas of Inquiry (AOI) requirements and a Senior Capstone. Students are required to complete all three. An optional Honors Program Track is available as an alternative to the Areas of Inquiry requirements. Additional information can be found on the Drake Curriculum Web site: /dc.

First Year Seminars: All Drake students entering directly from high school or transferring with fewer than 30 hours of college credit must complete a First Year Seminar during their first year of enrollment. First Year Seminars are student-centered learning experiences that involve critical thinking and both written and oral communication skills. Through a topical focus, they foster understanding of methods of analysis and creativity.

Areas of Inquiry: The Areas of Inquiry requirements are designed to provide students with a solid introduction to a variety of intellectual fields and a diversity of learning experiences. Students are required to take one course in each Area of Inquiry listed below, with the exceptions of the historical consciousness and science areas where two courses each are required. In the science area, one course must be on the physical sciences list and the other course must be on the life and behavioral sciences list. One of the two science courses must carry a one-credit lab. Descriptions of each Area of Inquiry are available on the Drake Curriculum Web site.

  • Written Communication
  • Information Literacy
  • Critical Thinking
  • International and Multicultural
  • Historical Consciousness
  • Artistic Experience
  • Life and Physical Science
  • Quantitative
  • Values and Ethics
  • The Engaged Citizen

Students select courses for each Area of Inquiry from approved course lists. Selections should be made in consultation with the student's academic adviser. With specific exceptions, students and advisers must choose from the approved lists in fulfilling area requirements. The exceptions to this rule involve honors courses, independent study courses, special topics courses, study-abroad courses and transfer courses. Students may apply courses of these types to an appropriate Area of Inquiry requirement with the approval of their adviser. It is mandatory, however, that courses falling into one of these categories must centrally address the goals and expectations of the relevant Area of Inquiry (as specified in the Area description) before they can be approved as fulfilling the area requirement. First Year Seminars may not be counted toward the Areas of Inquiry requirements. Also, a single course can count for no more than one Area of Inquiry. In cases where a given course is listed under two (or more) areas, the course may be counted toward one or the other. Approved course lists for each Area of Inquiry are available on the Drake Curriculum Web site.

Honors Program Track: As an alternative to the Areas of Inquiry requirements, students may fulfill the Drake Curriculum by completing the requirements of the Honors Program Track. Students pursuing the Honors Program Track must still take a First Year Seminar and a Senior Capstone. Students who later decide to drop the Honors Program Track must complete the Areas of Inquiry requirements. (Honors courses already taken may be counted toward appropriate Areas of Inquiry with adviser approval.) Students should consult with their academic adviser before switching to the Honors Program Track.

The Honors Program Track Requirements include:

  • One laboratory science course from AOI lists for either physical or life sciences.
  • One course from AOI list for Quantitative Area.
  • One course from AOI list for Artistic Experience Area.
  • Honr 100: Paths to Knowledge (4-credit course).
  • 15 additional credits in the Honors Program.

Completion of the Honors Program Track in the Drake Curriculum is not sufficient to fulfill the requirements of the Honors Program for the designation of "University Honors" on a student's final transcript. To complete the Honors Program, students must complete the Honors Program Track plus the following: successfully complete an Honors Program Senior Thesis/Project and maintain an overall cumulative 3.5 GPA.

Senior Capstone Experiences: Each Drake University student must complete at least one Senior Capstone experience. Capstone experiences allow each student to demonstrate the capacity to bring information, skills and ideas acquired from the major and the Drake Curriculum to bear on one significant project. Capstone options are designed by individual departments and interdisciplinary programs. Capstones may take many different forms, including seminars, internships, practicums, field work, independent research and other options. Students who are earning double majors are required to meet the capstone requirement of each major. The same capstone may, however, satisfy requirements in more than one major with approval of both departments or programs. Descriptions of the Senior Capstone requirements in each major are available on the Drake Curriculum Web site.

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University News
April 27, 2017
When Drake senior Reed Fischer crossed the finish line at the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee on Thursday, he broke a school record that has stood since long before Drake’s famed Blue Oval was blue.